When asked what is the great commandment, Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and “Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mt. 23.37, 39). So, there was Jesus, sitting down, preaching the greatest sermon the world has ever known. Maybe you can sit down with somebody today and tell them how to be saved.
I’m going to look at Luke Chapter 12 today, and as you read it you’ll discover that some of the people who come to Jesus came with a problem. They asked him about a situation. One may say, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me” (Lk. 12.13). Now in our daily lives, people ask us various questions; we’re faced with situations all the time, and so was Jesus. And what Jesus did was to take every situation that He found Himself in, every involvement with the affairs of others, and directly, He brought in the spiritual emphasis and declared the way of salvation. Isn’t that the way you and I want to be a witness for Christ? Let’s see what He did.
A man was asking Jesus to make his brother give him what was his. And Jesus said to him, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (Lk. 12.15). And then He told a parable about a rich man. Now what Jesus did was to give a truth; He said that life did not consist in the abundance of the things we possess.
There are times as we begin to live for the Lord when people ask a lot of questions. They say things like, ‘Ah, the politicians are making a mess of the world’, and you don’t know what to say or do. But there you have a ripe opportunity to share with them and say, ‘Well, you know the politicians, they make a mess but God has a plan for the world. One day Jesus is going to come again and even until He does, He can give us life, He can give us direction. We can live for Him’. See, we can use the questions people ask us.
Often people ask me which way to the airport or something, and I’ll say, ‘but more important than that, I can tell you how you can get to heaven. Jesus Christ saves and He loves you.’ Sometimes I don’t know the direction or the way to the airport because I’m a stranger in town, but I do know the way to heaven. Let’s share that good news in the world.
I’m continuing to share with you the exciting life of Jesus Christ as He witnessed so that you and I may be more effective in sharing Christ with the world in which we live. So today I want to look at a very interesting and powerful aspect of Christ’s life. It is Jesus, and the miracles He performed; His healing and His power over demonic spirits.
Listen to what the Scriptures say, “the crowds were amazed at His teaching, because He taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law” (Mt. 7.28, 29). The Bible also says that Jesus healed all manner of sickness and disease among the lepers, among all the handicapped people, among the blind, and He raised the dead. He also had the power to multiply the loaves and the fishes.
Now what about Jesus and the miracles? Was He just working miracles as a sport? Did He do it all the time or was there a deeper meaning and purpose behind it? I find that as Jesus healed, the physical healing was not the ultimate, it was not, seemingly, His primary motivation. It was to teach another lesson; it was in order that people might know His authority.
Now until the time of Christ, there had been many prophets, there had been many mighty workers of God, and yet in Jesus we have one who comes and heals thousands of people. How ever, He did not heal everybody in all of Galilee and all of Judea and all of Samaria, but He did heal all the people that He wanted to heal. He healed all who requested healing of Him, but He did not just rapidly clear out every disease in the land.
Often Jesus was viewed only as a miracle worker. When Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus, was sick, they sent for Jesus to come but He delayed and finally Lazarus died. And Martha said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died” (Jn. 11.21), but Jesus had a greater motive, for after Lazarus died Jesus raised him from the dead. This was to show his authority. It was to reveal Himself, so He healed. He sent out His disciples to heal. And the early church healed in the name of Jesus. His healing powers are available today and still heals the body. But it is realizing that healing is to point to the manifestation that is Christ is Lord, that He is Saviour. And through Him, people may have the greatest there is, and that is the inner healing of being forgiven of their sins; of being washed in blood of Jesus. Spread that good news, and if you’ve never received Him, invite Jesus to be your Saviour today.
Let’s look at how Jesus dealt with a man who was an antagonist, who was trying to criticize, and throw trick questions at Jesus. Often, as you witness, somebody will try trick questions. How did Jesus deal with it?
In Luke chapter 10, a man stood up and tried to justify himself, and tried to trick the Lord by asking, “And who is my neighbour?” (Lk. 10.29). Jesus was talking, and the man kept coming back with questions, so Jesus told the story of Good Samaritan. He told how a man, (a Jew), was beaten and stripped and robbed, and a priest came by and saw the man lying on the roadside, half dead, he went around him. Then another religious leader came by, saw the man and walked around him. Then a Samaritan came by who had a different ethnic and religious back ground (Samaritans were looked down on by Jews), and he saw this man beaten and almost dead on the roadside. And he went up to him and poured oil and wine on his wounds and bandaged him. He cared for him and took him to an inn. There he ministered to him and left money to take care of him, and arranged that if any more money was due, he’d pay for it when he returned.
Now let’s look at this. Jesus then asked who the man’s neighbour was. Was it the person who was of the same kindred ethnically, or a person who was of another background, even another religious viewpoint but who ministered to the needs of the brother? And the questioning man said, “The one who had mercy on him,’ and Jesus said, ‘Go and do likewise” (Lk. 10.37).
I remember being driven down Sunset Strip in Hollywood one night, by a minister. As we went around some of the places where I often ministered, there was a drunk lying in the gutter. We both saw him and the minister began to preach, telling me how bad alcohol was, and we drove on. I said, ‘Stop your car,’ and I got out. I went to the drunk man, picked him up, helped across to the car and the minister said, ‘No, he’s going to mess my seat covers up. What am going to do?’ I said, ‘I’ll buy you new seat covers. I want to take this man down to our HalfwayHouse and get him sobered up and saved.’
You see, we don’t need to point our finger of judgment at this world. Our life must be involved in the world of ministering with the needs of Person-to-person; not pointing a finger of condemnation, but an outstretched hand of love and mercy. As followers of Christ, our role is to share the good news, and love and help everybody.
Often when I’ve witnessed and shared Christ with someone, and they haven’t received the Lord, it really hurts and I feel so bad. And we look at our witness and say that we want to witness better and yet we’ve failed. And if only we could witness like Billy Graham or Arthur Blessitt or someone like that, we’d be bringing people into the Kingdom of God all the time. However, when you look at Jesus, you need to realize that everyone Jesus talked to received Him as the Messiah. All of those whom Christ witnessed to received the truth, but not all of them received Him as Lord. So let’s look at this part of the Witnessing life of Christ.
In John Chapter 6, we read how after Jesus had fed the 5,000, people went to Him the next day. They wanted more of the same kind of food; they wanted Him to do more for them. But Jesus said, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty'” (Jn. 6.60), but the people didn’t want this kind of Jesus. And the Bible says, “This is a hard teaching, who can accept it? (Jn. 6.60). And Jesus said, ‘Does this offend you?” (Jn. 6.61). Then there are some tragic words, “From this time many of His disciples turned back and no longer followed Him'” (Jn. 6.66).
Jesus witnessed to these people, He explained the way of life: saying that He could satisfy the soul; that He could satisfy the thirst of life; that He could give value and meaning; that He loved them; that He was the object of life, and they wanted loaves and fishes. They didn’t want the real Jesus, and so they left Him.
In Matthew Chapter 19 we see the story of a young man who came to Jesus and said, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?’ and Jesus said, “Obey the commandments.” And the man said, ‘All these I have kept.’ Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” And the Bible says “he went away sad, because he had great wealth” (Mt. 16-22.)
Jesus loved this man and spoke to him, and the young man met Christ and yet he left without becoming a follower of Jesus. Although it is a sad thing to say, and I must say it honestly, every person that I witness to does not receive Jesus. We should seek to present Christ, pray for people and encourage them in the Lord, and yet there is that knowledge some may never receive Jesus.
Today, I’m looking at Jesus as the critics viewed “The Son of Man came eating and drinking Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend tax collectors and “sinners” ‘(Lk. 7.35). Jesus was involved with sinners. He went where they were his friends, He knew them and knew Him.
One time a Pharisee invited Jesus to his house with him, and the Scripture says, “He went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee house. . .'”(Lk. 7.36, 37). There are several interesting points here. One, Jesus was available. He was a friend and acquaintance of those who did not live righteous lives. He didn’t just associate with the preachers, with those in the Temple, He was in contact with all of humanity. He went into an unsaved man’s house and sat down in his home to eat dinner. When the other sinners around town heard that was in the house, they came, and one was a woman who was a sinner. And when she came in, she fell at the feet of Jesus and began to wash His feet with her tears, and as she wept and bathed His feet with her tears, the critics began to condemn Him, and said that He shouldn’t do this;
He shouldn’t let this woman, who was a sinner, touch Him. And Jesus said, “I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.’ And He continued to speak, ‘You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.” (Lk. 7.44-46). As she washed His feet with the tears from her eyes, He showed how sinners, when their are forgiven, are greatly appreciative. He said the woman, “Your sins are forgiven,’ and guests said, ‘Who is this who even forgives Sins? and Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Lk. 7.48-50).
Jesus responded to the woman who loved Him. He didn’t say that He was too holy, or that she couldn’t be around Him, but He loved her, He forgave her sins and He gave her a new life and she began to live victoriously and triumphantly. Jesus loves. You and I are to love. We are to identify ourselves with those who may not be Christians. You need them eating in your home and you need to be in their home. We need go out into the streets, the highways and hedges, and compel people to come in to the house of God, that they may know Jesus. Praise God!
The book of Acts is a tremendous record of the early Christians reaching out into the world. We also want to be able to share Christ effectively and consistently and powerfully. We need knowledge, mixed with our zeal, and the enthusiasm of knowing Christ and living for Him today. So, the next weeks I’m going to be looking at the book of Acts, to see how the early Christians shared the message. What empowered them? How were they able to mix in various backgrounds, with every obstacle against them, and triumphant joy, and shake the world, literally through their sharing of Christ?
Let’s find one of the first problems the early Christians faced. In Acts Chapter 1, when Jesus was about to ascend to the Father, He told His disciples that they were going to receive power, and that after the Holy Spirit had come upon them, they were to be witnesses in Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth. Now, they wanted to know when He was coming again. But Jesus said, ‘It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses.” And then the Scripture says, ‘He was taken up,'”(Acts 1. 7-9). And as He ascended heaven the first thing the disciples did was disobey what He had said. Because, instead of going into the city to proclaim and to preach and to prepare themselves, the Bible says, “they were looking intently up into the sky as He was going,” and the Scripture says that two angels stood beside them and said, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go it into heaven’,” Acts 1.10, 11).
Now, many of us believers are excited about Jesus coming again. Many of us want to know the day and the time. Everywhere I go, people know ask about when Jesus is coming, and is now the time. And I say that ‘I know now is the time to witness, and now is the time to proclaim the gospel of Jesus to everybody.’ It was the commission of Jesus for us to go, and preach and be His witness.
God is looking at you today, and He saying `Will you be my witness today?’ He doesn’t want you gazing at the word, ‘or talking to Him, He wants you to talk to somebody about how they can be saved. You do that today and share Jesus Christ and His love someone today.
Today I’m going to look in the Bible to see the mighty empowering of the Holy Spirit in the early believers’ lives. You can find the story in Acts Chapter 2. In the first verses, the Bible says, “When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place'” (Acts 2.1). Here is one of the keys of the mighty effectiveness of these early believers – they were united; they were obsessed, and they were filled with the love of Jesus Christ. They knew in whom they believed. and then came the mighty anointing of the Holy Spirit; the mighty empowering of God’s Spirit in their lives. Jesus had ascended into heaven and now the Spirit had come to reside within them.
When we receive Christ, we receive His Spirit and as we yield our life to Him, we receive the mighty empowering and filling of the baptism(the saturation) of the Holy Spirit. To do what? To feel good? It’s wonderful to be filled with the Spirit, to be happy, but to do what?
Notice what happened when the early believers were filled. The Bible says, “staying in Jerusalem were God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven'” (Acts 2.5). Now, these early believers filled with the Holy Spirit, confounded the multitude who had come together because they heard them speak in their own language. What joy it is to know that God wants to communicate His message in a way that people can understand it. And they understood about the Lord.
What did those witnesses talk about on the day of Pentecost? – The wonderful works of God. What is the wonderful work of God? – it is His love, poured out; that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. The wonderful work of God is that His Spirit is here to convict us of sin, to bring us to repentance and into a newness of life – that is the life Jesus wants you to have. It is to be filled with His Spirit, empowered by Him, to speak His wonderful works. How are people going to hear without a Preacher? How are they going to know these wonderful works unless you tell them?
Bible tells us in Acts Chapter 2, that when disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit on day of Pentecost, the people thought that were drunk. But Peter told them how they were filled with the Spirit, according to the prophet Joel. Then Peter began to preach a message that every Christian needs to use in their witnessing. He starts off with what he and others had been accused of, (being drunk), and then shared with them how they too could know the Lord. He preached Christ and Christ crucified. He said that God had already provided their salvation; that God loved them; that Jesus died upon the cross; that He’d been resurrected from the dead and that this Jesus was alive, and he knew it because he had seen the crucifixion and he had seen the resurrected Christ. And then he said that they needed to receive Him as Lord and Christ. Then, listen to these words, “When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart,”
and they asked Peter what they must do. And Peter said, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ” (Acts 2, 37, 38).
As I studied the witnessing life of Jesus, when He began to preach, He preached repentance for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand, (Mt. 3.2). John the Baptist was also preaching repentance. And now, the day after Pentecost, what were they doing? – they started off preaching `Repent`. So, for us today, when we share the good news of Jesus Christ, in joy, in happiness, in excitement, in love, and it may seem unusual to you, but it’s natural to be happy and to love an abundant life as a Christian; we must also point out that people need to repent of their sins and turn from the life that is destined to separate them from God in hell, and to give themselves to Jesus. And when you share the gospel, as Peter shared the gospel, people will come under repentance, and there will be that inward desire to know Jesus and be saved.
Let’s look at the mark of a real evangelist for Jesus Christ. Peter has been preaching on the day of Pentecost, crowds have gathered in the Streets and he’s proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ; the death of Christ and the resurrection, and the fact that they need to repent and to receive Him as their Lord. And then, listen to this evangelist give his invitation. “With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘save yourselves from this corrupt generation.'”(Acts 2.40). This is the real mark of an evangelist, isn’t it? With many words he preached, explained, encouraged and said, ‘Save yourself.`
For believers who are going to witness for Christ, it is vitally important to bring the invitation home to the person, to be able to say to them ‘Repent, receive Jesus now.’ If your heart doesn’t burn, desiring the conversion of the lost, then you’re not going to see great results. But in Peter we see that evangelistic heart saying, ‘Save yourselves.’
And what happened? The Bible says, “Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day” (Acts 2.41). This is how the early church started with the message of Christ; with the flaming heart of an evangelist, and the people gladly receiving Him. And the Scriptures say, “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer'”(Acts 2.42). The apostles answered their questions, led them to Jesus and then they helped them to study the Bible, to know the truth. This is the way that we as Christ’s followers today should live our lives. In the power of the Holy Spirit and in urging the unsaved to trust Jesus.
I encourage you today, if you have a friend or neighbor, or someone you’ve been witnessing to, and they’ve never received Christ, invite them to Jesus. Some people don’t encourage pushing, but I’d rather push somebody toward heave than just let them slide into hell. Encourage somebody today to receive Jesus Christ.
I’m continuing to study the witnessing life of the early believers in the book of Acts, to see how they lived, how they witnessed and what they talked about. In Chapter 3, Peter and John entered the temple, and as they went in, a lame man was lying there – sick and infirm from his mother’s womb – and he was begging for alms. Peter and John walked by and said, “Look at us!’ and the guy looked up at them and they said, ‘Silver or gold I do not have but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (Acts 3. l-6). These are powerful words and they mean much to us today. They had no silver or gold; they didn’t have anything to give that was physical; they were broke, but they had Jesus Christ and He can put a man’s life together, forever.
And so I’m going to ask you, what do you have? They said they had no silver or gold, but they had Jesus Christ. And God wants to use you and everything you have for His glory. You may have some religious magazines or gospel materials which you’ve already read and would normally throw out in the rubbish. Don’t do that any more. Take them down to the launderette, leave the gospel material on the table where magazines are. When you go to the dentist or doctor, or wherever you go, leave one of those gospel materials. Some of you have many Bibles, leave them around. What do you have? You have letters that you send to friends, insert a gospel tract in those envelopes and post them. When you pay your bills, slip in a gospel tract or a Jesus sticker.
Do you have a friend you can share with? Maybe invite them over for lunch, or meet them for their lunch at work. When talking about different things, you can share with them about Jesus Christ. You can ask them simply, ‘Do you know Jesus Christ as your Saviour?’ Or it may be that they’re sharing some need in their life and you can say, ‘Oh, let me show you how that need can be met’. And you might read them, “My God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4.19). Communicate with somebody about the Lord today.
We’ve just seen how Peter and John saw the lame man healed. How he came leaping up, praising God and the crowds gathered round. They knew this man had been lame, they had seen him begging for years, and now he was whole and praising God. And they started questioning Peter and John about his healing. And Peter and John began to witness to the crowd. They took advantage of the interest of the people, to communicate the message of Jesus Christ?. Now, often that is what we need to do. Maybe you’ve just bought a new car and people are looking at that car ‘Oh, what a wonderful car you’ve got,’ and you’ll say, ‘Yes, this is a mighty fine car, but you know what, it cost me a lot of money and it’s going to wear out. But that’s not true about Jesus Christ, because the greatest thing in the world was free, Jesus died for me and my relationship with Him will never die.’ Just take something and change it.
Peter and John could have started a debate on the miracle, but what did they do? They said, “Repent then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out” (Acts 2.19). They proclaimed the redemptive message. Now when you witness, it is very important to learn from these early believers. When they witnessed they preached Christ, they shared Jesus Christ.
Often, when you start witnessing you find yourself led into a conversation or a debate, or you find yourself talking about politics or the weather, or talking about ball games, and you just can’t seem to stick to the subject. Talk about Jesus; people want to talk about Him; they want to know about their relationship with God. Sometimes they might not be interested in church but they are interested in their lives being filled with life and love and joy. They’re interested in their relationship with God, so talk about Jesus. Show them how He will meet their needs and then bring them, once they have given their lives to Jesus Christ, to understand what the Church is and how they can study the Bible and grow. But don’t get hung up on the side issues, concentrate on the main thing and that is our Lord.
In Acts Chapter 4 I see something marvellous about a man who only a few weeks earlier had denied that he even knew Jesus Christ. It was Peter, and Peter had denied that he knew Jesus just before the crucifixion. He quit following Christ and became a fisherman again, and Jesus went back and got him, and he Was filled With the Holy spirit and then he preached on the day of Pentecost. Listen to the Words in Acts, “When they saw the Courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (Acts 4.13). Peter and John did not come from the intellectual circles of Jerusalem, their background was fishing and manual labor. Peter was a thick-headed muscle man type, but he was full of the anointing of God. And God transformed him and made him a bold and dynamic witness for Jesus Christ. That is what God wants to do for you.
“For God did not give us a Spirit of timidity, but a Spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline” (2 Tim. 1.7). Listen to what the spirit-filled Peter and John said when hauled before the authorities in Acts “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4.19, 20). This is marvelous! They had been commanded not to preach or teach in the name of Jesus Christ, and here they were again, commanded by the authorities to cease preaching, and what was their reaction? Their reaction was that they were so full on the inside that although a law had just been passed outlawing preaching, they couldn’t help but speak those things which they had seen and heard.
Many times, as I minister around the world, I find in my encounters with believers, many of them give excuses about their lack of witness. And sometimes I’ve tried to crank them up, or I’ve tried to prime the pump, so to speak, and get them going for the Lord.
I grew up on a farm in Louisiana and discovered that when we used the pump on the farm, we had to pour a little water pump in the pump top, priming the pump. And you’d pump, and finally it’d catch the water, 30 or 40 feet below, and the pump would prime, and out would come the water. Now, you had to keep priming the pump, and it wasn’t sealed good, and it wasn’t in good shape. I think a lot of believers are like that. As a matter of fact, some believers have never even got plugged into the well, and you pump and you pump and you try to get the water to come out and no water ever comes out.
You need to be so full of Jesus that you can’t help witnessing, you’ll want to, it’s not a job that you have to do, it’s not a command that you must obey. It is a relationship with Jesus that you can’t shut up about, that you can’t stop speaking about. It is Jesus and you’re excited. It’s like being in love. Be in love with Jesus, and go out today and share the love and message of Jesus with somebody.
I continue to study the life of the early witnesses in Acts Chapters 4 and 5, who were threatened with being beaten, stoned and killed. But they said they couldn’t help but speak those things which they had seen and heard. And when they were assembled together, “They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the Word of God boldly” and all the believers were one in heart and mind. No-one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (Acts 4.31-33). Isn’t that wonderful! God blessed that church with great power, and the place was shaken. And when they went out, after being commanded not to preach and not to teach, they were beaten again, and the Scripture says, ‘left. . . rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name,’ and ‘Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Christ’ (Acts 5.41, 42).
The commission was given to us as individuals, and to the Church, to go out and communicate Jesus Christ. Where did the early Christians go? They met together in the temple. They met together as a church and there received strength, power and filling. And then, what did they do? They went into the neighborhood, house to house.
Do you say you’re a part of a real Bible church? Then are you going house to house, teaching in the name of Jesus? You need to go to your next-door neighbor, on either side of your house. Knock on their door, tell them who you are, introduce yourself and say, ‘I’m interested in your relationship with God. I love you. If you die now, where would you spend eternity?’ And say, ‘I brought along a little Bible, I’d like to give to you.’ Start evangelizing in your neighborhood. Get your church together and systematically visit every house in the neighborhood. Get out there and go for God!
Today I’m looking at how different people in the early days communicated the message of Jesus Christ, and in Acts Chapters 6 and 7, I’m studying a man called Stephen. He was not a preacher per se; he was a layman. Notice what was said about Stephen, ‘but they could not stand up against his wisdom or the Spirit by which he spoke (Acts 6.10). What a wonderful thing to be said about a person’s witness for Jesus Christ. The man was full of wisdom and mightily filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
The Bible says that we should study to show ourselves approved by God. We’ve got to grow in Christ, we must study and pray; and to have true wisdom is a mighty virtue. And the Bible says this is what characterizes Stephen’s life. At the end of his life, he was taken to trial, and notice what was said, “The Sanhedrin looked intetnly at Stephen, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel'” (Acts 6.15). What a man of God! What a witness! Even to look at him it seemed that there was the glow of the angel. And yet, as Stephen witnessed, the people did not receive Christ as their Saviour. What happened? The Bible tells us that they became angry at his Sermon and began to threaten him and finally they pounced on him and began to beat him, and even to bite him with their teeth. And the Scriptures says, “he saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God'” (Acts 7.55). Then they took him out of the city and stoned him to death. But before he died he cried out, “Lord do not hold this sin against them. When he had said this, he fell asleep.” (Acts 7.60).
Stephen was a mighty witness and an example that you and I should seek to emulate in our living. Full of wisdom, full of the Spirit and yet even though he witnessed effectively, the people did not receive his message. Sometimes people will reject you, as they rejected Stephen, and yet even at his death, people were converted. Stephen died, full of love, bearing no resentment or hatred for all the ridicule and persecution received, but praising God and rejoicing that he counted worthy to suffer for Jesus Christ.
For the next few days I’m going to look at a story in the Bible that is really powerful and full of life, and I think that it’s going to help you evaluate yourself and make a difference in your witnessing life. It’s in Acts Chapter 8 and it’s the story about Philip who went out, led by the Spirit to an Ethiopian eunuch.
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out” (Acts 8.26, 27). The Lord had shown Philip that he had something for him to do. He had to leave where he was, to get to the road that went from Jerusalem to Gaza, and immediately Philip obeyed the Lord. He got up and he went.
Many of you have been saying that God’s been speaking to us in our lives and yet we haven’t got up and gone. We never get started, and the Lord wants us to go. The Lord didn’t describe every detail to Philip, He just wanted him to go there, and He would lead the way. That is what God has promised us. Jesus has said that He will be with us, until the end of the world. When the Lord is with you don’t fear, but go.
For some of you, God has called you to preach, but you have never surrendered. It’s time now to arise and go and do what God told you to do. For some of you God has wanted you on the mission field, and you’ve given excuse after excuse after excuse. Don’t give Him your excuse, give Him your life. If God says go to New York, you’d better get to New York anyway; if you’ve got the money fly there; if you don’t have the money, drive there in your car. If your car won’t make it and you don’t have the money for the petrol, hitchhike and you’ll make it. If nobody will pick you up, then get out there and walk – you can make it. I walked across America in six months. If you can’t walk, then crawl, and if you can’t crawl then fall in that direction, and God will bless you. The Lord said to Philip ‘Go’ and Philip got up and went.